Vitamin B6 – Uses, Sources & Symptoms

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine and is a water-soluble vitamin. It is derived from pyridoxil 5-phosphate (PLP) and is important for more than 100 enzymes which are involved in metabolism of proteins. It also facilitates the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, maintains the levels of homocysteine and supports the immune system.

Vitamin B6 is available in six common forms including pyridoxal, pyridoxine (pyridoxol), pyridoxamine, and their phosphorylated forms. It is not stored in body and the excess is removed through urine. Therefore, it is important to consume vitamin B6 regularly.

KEY FUNCTIONS

Vitamin B6 has multiple functions which are as follows:

  • It facilitates in producing energy by converting food into glucose.
  • Helps in transmitting signals from one neuron to other by making neurotransmitters
  • It produces hormones, red blood cells and immune system cells.
  • Reducing pregnancy induced insomnia but should be consumed under physician’s guidance.
  • Helps in controlling seizures.
  • It cures sideroblastic anemia in which the human body makes red blood cells that have high iron content.
  • In combination with folic acid, it helps in treating high homocysteine level. 
  • Vitamin B6 also helps in protection from pollution.

There are some researches that show vitamin B6 also helps in treating the following:

  • Age- related macular degeneration
  • Hardening of the arteries
  • Kidney stones
  • Morning sickness
  • Premenstrual syndrome

DIETARY SOURCES

Potatoes, Turkey, Banana, Marinara (spaghetti) sauce, Ground beef, waffles, bulgur , cottage cheese, squash, rice ,Nuts, raisins, onions, spinach, tofu, watermelon, papayas, oranges, and cantaloupe ,poultry, Beef liver, Tuna , Salmon, Fortified cereals and Chickpeas.

RECOMMENDED DIETARY ALLOWANCE

 The Recommended Dietary Allowance for men aged between  14-50 years is 1.3 mg daily and above 51 years is 1.7 mg. 

The RDA for women aged between 14-18 years is 1.2 mg; 19-50 years is 1.3 mg; and above 51 years is 1.5 mg.

During pregnancy and lactation, the amount that can be consumed should be 1.9 mg and 2.0 mg, respectively. 

DEFICIENCIES:

Vitamin B6 deficiency is very uncommon, but can cause peripheral neuropathy and a pellagra-like syndrome, with seborrheic dermatitis, glossitis, and cheilosis. There are few conditions which can lead to vitamin B6 deficiency and they are as follows:

  • Poor intestinal absorption.
  • Consumption of estrogens, corticosteroids, anticonvulsants.
  • Low levels of vitamin B12 and folate.
  • Long-term and excessive alcoholism
  • Kidney disease
  • Autoimmune intestinal disorders like celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease
  • Autoimmune inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis

SYMPTOMS

There are multiple symptoms that are visible in vitamin B6 deficiency and they include microcytic anemia, skin conditions, depression, confusion, lowered immunity, dementia, peripheral  neuropathy with tingling, numbness, and pain in the hands and feet, seizures, inflammation of the tongue, or glossitis and inflammation and cracking of the lips, known as cheilosis.

OVERVIEW

Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine and is a water-soluble vitamin. Vitamin B6 is available in six common forms including pyridoxal, pyridoxine (pyridoxol), pyridoxamine, and their phosphorylated forms. It facilitates in producing energy by converting food into glucose, helps in transmitting signals from one neuron to other by making neurotransmitters and produces hormones, red blood cells and immune system cells. The common symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency include microcytic anemia, skin conditions, depression etc.

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